Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Sega Saturn - International Victory Goal

Sega Saturn
International Victory Goal


I also dislike Football Games as a general rule.

The problem I have with football is pretty simple. It's so BORING. Seriously, 90 minutes, and no goals? In pretty much any other sport, if a game was held to a nil-all draw for its length it would be exciting end-to-end stuff exercising superb defence, and would be quite exhilarating to watch. In football, these namby-pamby ham-actors are quite content to continually kick the ball in the air and not really get anywhere.

So... Football. Yawn. Booor-ring.

However, over the years, there has actually been some games that transform football into an attractive prospect. One of the main reasons for this is the much shorter game time that is usually imposed. 3 minutes is about the perfect length for a half of football, and as such would cause the players to put in 100% effort for its entire length.

Whilst I never "got" the fuss behind Sensible Soccer (except of course the Bulldog Blighty version with a hand grenade for a ball), I did enjoy Striker and Goal on the Amiga... and International Victory Goal on the Saturn most of all.

There's one very good reason why this game stands out above all other football games EVER. Y'see, at the time this came out (around the same time as Daytona / Sega Rally / Virtua Cop and so on) Sega were in the flow of producing amazing musical soundtracks to accompany their games. International Victory Goal delivered this with so much conviction; it has to be one of the single greatest musical scores ever committed to a game.

Alright, back to the game a second... the graphics themselves aren't the greatest ever seen, but they control so well and handle so realistically, it's like the physics from Virtua Tennis have already been conceived. Sliding or shoulder charging in the wrong direction stymies your progress up or down the field, and when you're chasing a breakaway player on the attack, you find yourself desperately trying to will your player along in the chase, hoping when you finally make that tackle you don't get sent off for it. A shot from close enough to the goal is rarely saved, so time is always of the essence in these situations.

With the tactical choices you can make before each match, you have a level of control not often seen in football games at that time. And you can cycle your priorities towards defence or attack at the press of a button.

I’ve played football games before and football games since, just to see if anything can ever deliver the fun and excitement this title managed to achieve. I can safely say... nothing has come close. Ever.

Whether you like Football or not, take away the boring nature of the sport and think of it as an action game. It becomes exciting in its own way. If you have a Saturn and want a decent sports game, this, Athlete Kings and World Series Baseball are the picks of choice.

Even if you don’t play the game, at least go over to the Galbaldia Hotel and download the soundtrack. Because it’s awesome.

1 comment:

  1. This is actually the only football game I've ever spent more than about 10 seconds playing. I didn't particularly like it but I didn't have many games for my Saturn back then! :P